Wild garlic is in season at the moment, and I’m fortunate enough to have parents-in-law with this wonderful herb growing in their back garden. My wife picked some and used it to make a tasty, fresh wild garlic leaf pesto sauce.
We had this with some pappardelle pasta, which was served with smoked chicken and asparagus. Utterly delicious. It can also be used for vegetables, or as a dip.
Wild Garlic Leaf Pesto Sauce
- Sharp knife
- Chopping board
- 350g wild garlic leaves
- 125g pine kernels
- 1 large lemon
- 250g Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
Wild garlic leaves can be quite potent. If you think the taste might be too garlic-y for you (or if you like spinach), substitute some wild garlic leaves for spinach leaves to balance out, up to a 50:50 mix. I go with 250g wild garlic and 100g spinach.
- Wash wild garlic leaves (and spinach leaves if being used) thoroughly.
- Cut Parmesan into small chunks. Peel lemon, cut into quarters.
- Add salt, olive oil, wild garlic leaves, Parmesan chunks, lemon pieces, pine nuts and spinach (if being used) to a blender. Blitz. The leaves may need to be added in stages depending on the size of your blender.
That’s it. Simple.
For the chicken and asparagus dish, cook pappardelle pasta (or tagliatelle), asparagus and chicken breast according to standard cooking instructions. Drain the pasta and combine some of the wild garlic leaf pesto sauce, re-heating in the pan that the pasta was cooked in.
Smoked Chicken and Chargrilled Asparagus
I smoked and cooked the chicken breasts in our Big Green Egg. This was indirect at 120°C/250°F using dried grape vines (from our “vineyard” … three vines creeping up the side fence) until the internal temperature of the breasts was 65°C/150°F.
The breasts were removed and kept warm in a roasting tray covered with kitchen foil and a towel. The platesetter was removed, Egg raised to 300°C/615°F for direct cooking/searing. The breasts were then seared for 1 minute each side, covered and left to rest, carved when the internal temperature was 74°C/165°F (pretty much straight after they were seared).
At the same time as searing the chicken breast I also chargrilled the cooked asparagus to give it a nice, slightly crisp coating.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- This can be stored in a sealed container in a fridge for up to a week after making.
- Make sure that there are no chunks of cheese stuck to the blades of the blender. If so, remove and re-blend to incorporate into the sauce.
- Check the consistency of the sauce, depending on the leaves being used it might need a little more olive oil.
- Keep the lemon peel for cocktails or orange and lemon marmalade.